Bakersfield College

Leadership Matters

Leadership Matters Summit

Leadership Matters:
Reimagining Leadership to Sustain Transformative Change
to Advance Student Success & Equity

The Leadership Matters summit took place on May 24th, 2017.

An Introduction from BC President Sonya Christian

The California Community College System of 113 colleges is advancing over two million students towards certificate and degree completion, many of them first-generation. Providing leadership in this, the largest higher education system in the nation, is not a trivial task – shifting the mindset of individuals, rethinking systems to deliver the desired outcomes; improving what we do, resulting in significantly more students (and more historically disadvantaged students) completing their degree or certificate; and educating students who are creative thinkers and critical thinkers, creative problem solvers, creative and effective communicators, and engaged citizens who care about building economically strong and healthy communities.

In California we have systematically been working on this vision for over a decade. The work thus far has helped us know both what the vision is, and equally important, what it is not. It is as though we are sculpting this vision through the various initiatives and investments made in matriculation (SSSP), the focus on Equity, redesigning developmental education through acceleration and contextualization, recognizing prior learning with the use of Multiple Measures, placing students in freshman level composition and freshman math with co-requisites to ensure the success of students. The work has been precise, it has been done with many hands, many minds, and many hearts across our institutions and across the state… constantly focused on making this vision take shape.

CA Guided Pathways Advisory Committee

What is needed now, with all the work accomplished so far, is an integrating framework. We are starting to see the angel in the marble and like Michelangelo, we are sculpting to set this angel free!

Guided Pathways is that integrating framework that makes this vision take shape, but does not dictate the details. The framework is described by its four pillars that require (1) relentless clarity of the pathways, clarity in providing guidance to navigate the pathways (2) laser focus on preparing the student to enter the right path (3) support to keep students on the path and (4) ensuring deep and meaningful learning.

Does this involve a shift in our individual and organizational mindset? Does this sound like a rethinking of the design of our systems? Does it also sound like we are continuing with the work that we already started? Yes. Yes. And heck yes. We are sculpting a masterpiece for the California Community College system; and so remember, for this masterpiece to emerge we need all the precision and the uniqueness of each of the 113 pieces to be well executed. We are working together, all 113 of us to set this angel free.

That is why Leadership Matters! We will spend 6 hours together in three sessions immersed in the theory and practice of change, how to navigate change, how to lead change, how to deal with the friction points, conflicts that arise due to change and above all how to sustain change. The research-based theoretical framework has been well crafted by the Aspen Institute, Public Agenda, and our very own RP Group and Leading from the Middle. The theory will be anchored by 10 practitioners including 2 trustees, 2 college presidents, 2 vice presidents and 4 faculty, who will give us examples in the context of their experience.

Change requires that we honor the lessons of the past while looking to the future, both what is part of our vision and what is not. This shift in perspective can create a sense of loss – a sense of a disappearance of history, of foundational information. As leaders, we must support individuals and the campus community through this process while we continue to improve the learning environment for our student population using emerging knowledge and emerging technologies. Our students are counting on us… over 2 million of them. The Academic Senate for Californian Community Colleges said it best when they crafted the theme for their Fall 2016 Plenary – Honoring the past, Navigating the Present, Imagining the Future.

I recently received an email from a faculty member from one of our colleges who spoke with passion and conviction about the significant obligation we have to these students who are counting on us to help them realize their dreams. She signed off with “si se puede

It is in this spirit, I welcome you to the Leadership Matters Summit. Si se puede.

-Sonya Christian
President of Bakersfield College

Hosted by Bakersfield College with support from the following sponsors:

Irvine Valley College logo
Mt. San Antonio College logo
Bakersfield College logo
CA Pathways Logo
College Futures Foundation logo
RP Group logo
IEPI logo